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This Day in Buffalo Sports History: Mesi's hometown edge

   Sept. 27, 2003 -- Remember when Joe Mesi seemed on his way toward a title shot as a heavyweight boxer?

   It sure looked that way on this night. Here's how News' reporter Bucky Gleason described it:

    Baby Joe tucked in the Touch of Sleep for an early nap.

    Town of Tonawanda heavyweight Joe Mesi pummeled DaVarryl "Touch of Sleep" Williamson with two thunderous left hands for his second straight first-round knockout Saturday night in the main event on HBO's "Boxing After Dark" in HSBC Arena.His fight before about 12,000 screaming fans lasted only slightly longer than his last bout in the arena, when he demolished Robert Davis in 80 seconds. This time, it took Mesi 107 seconds to drop Williamson. Mesi improved to 27-0 with 25 knockouts -- including eight in the first round -- in his professional career.

    Mesi began getting busy 10 seconds into the fight. He connected with a straight right hand, a left and another right to get Williamson in trouble. Williamson fell back on his heels and Mesi connected with two furious lefts to put Williamson on his back. And Williamson quickly was sound asleep.

    Williamson (18-2, 16 KOs) made $175,000 for the fight. Mesi made $150,000, plus a percentage of the gate receipts. It appears there could be much bigger paydays ahead for the Western New York heavyweight.

    A 20-by-80-foot banner of Mesi posing with his fists taped was hanging from the rafters and overlooking the ring between Section 112 and Section 113. The show before the fight, complete with pyrotechnics, was reminiscent of his entrance into the ring back in June, when he knocked out Davis midway through the first round.

    Mesi wore a Buffalo Sabres jersey with the words "The third franchise" stitched on the back. Williamson waited about five minutes in the ring for Mesi to climb inside, and again it took less time to put his opponent away. Fans were cheering as loud for Mesi as they had for any Sabres game, including when they were in the Stanley Cup finals. Fans were chanting, "Let's Go, Baby Joe."

--- Budd Bailey

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